Friday, April 19, 2013

Forgotten Book: Maigret Loses His Temper by Georges Simenon

Jules Maigret is the creation of Belgian writer, Georges Simenon, who made his first appearance in Pietr-le-Leton. Between 1931 and 1972, he appeared in some 100 odd novels and short stories. He has also made numerous appearances on both big and small screens. Despite such a prolific career, I had not heard of him till I started blogging. After that, of course, I was very keen to read him. And then, just when I despaired of ever getting a book of his, I noticed a thin volume tucked between two heavy tomes in a library that I frequent.



Maigret loses his Temper is rather a late book in the series, published as it was in 1963. It is June and the weather is hot in Paris. Chief-Inspector Maigret feeling bored, writing reports that no one would read anyway, is waiting for a chance to get out of the office. Opportunity comes in the way of Antonio Farano, an Italian, long-settled in Paris. Antonio is worried as his brother-in-law, Emile Boulay, a war-veteran and the owner of a string of night-clubs in Paris has disappeared. Since Boulay never did stay away from home for such a long time, Antonio is worried that some foul play has occured.  Recently Boulay had an altercation with Mazotti, a hoodlum who had tried to work the protection racket on Boulay. Mazotti, himself had ended up dead a few weeks later and the police had summoned Boulay in order to solve the case.

Even as Maigret starts his investigation, Boulay's body turns up outside a cemetry. What is unusual about the murder is that the man had been killed days previously and has been strangulated. In Maigret's experience, professional killers do not strangle their victims nor do they keep the body with them. It seems to be the work of an amateur but who amongst the inoffensive circle of Boulay's family and acquaintances is the killer.

I enjoyed the book tremendously, finishing it in a day. Loved the cast of characters including the lawyer Maitre Ramuel who made the same theatrical gestures that he used in court in his private life; Marina, the content wife of Emile; and Emile himself who though being in a profession many would consider immoral was  very much a decent and conscientious man.

Here's an extract from the novel which I found to be very reminiscent of the scenario in India where brothers are extremely (even notoriously so) protective of their sisters:

'You can believe me or not if you like, but he spent weeks circling round me like a young man would have done... When he spoke to me during the show, it was to ask me questions: where I was born, where my family lived, whether my mother was in Paris, whether I had any brothers and sisters...

'Not once during all that time, did he touch me. Nor did he ever offer to take me home...'

Antonio nodded, with a look which implied that he wouldn't have allowed anything else to happen.

'... One evening he asked me if he could meet my brother...'

'He did the right thing,' conceded Antonio.





I thought I hadn't read anything of Simenon before this but just casually flipping through a list of books read years ago, I was surprised to find that I had read his The Girl in his Past.


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First Line: It was a quarter past twelve when Maigret passed under the perpetually cool archway and through the gate flanked by two uniformed policemen who were standing right up against the wall to obtain a little shade.

Title: Maigret Loses His Temper

Original Title: La Colere de Maigret

Original Language: French

Author: Georges Simenon

Translator: Robert Eglesfield

Publication Details: London: Hamish Hamilton, 1965

First Published: 1963

Pages: 140

Other Books read of the Same Author: The Girl in His Past.

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I borrowed it from DS Public Library at I.T.O. [823 S 41 M]

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Submitted for the following challenges: 52 Books in 52 Weeks, 2013 Mystery/ Crime, 2013 Translation, Books on France, European Reading, Let Me Count the Ways, Library Books, What Countries Have I Visited

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Entry for Friday's Forgotten Books.

8 comments:

  1. Neer - I'm so glad you've discovered Simenon and Jules Maigret. I think it's a well-done series with, as you say, some excellent characters. In my opinion, Simenon also did a terrific job of creating setting and atmosphere.

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    1. Yes Margot, I am very glad to have finally read him. You are absolutely right, besides the characters even the setting and atmosphere were done skilfully. Also liked the basic decency of Maigret. Lets see if I am lucky enough to get more of the series.

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  2. This is a good review. I read a lot of Maigret years ago, and I want to read more now. I should find an earlier one for the Vintage Mystery challenge.

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    1. Thanks so much Tracy K. How lucky that you have read much of him. Looking forward to your review of his books.

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  3. Sounds interesting. Will have to check out Simenon.

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    1. Thanks Robin.

      Do read Simenon, I rather liked the basic decency of the character.

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  4. I love Simenon and the Maigret books for their wonderful characterisation and evocation of time and place - and this is one I haven't read, so thanks Neer, really enjoyed the review and now I have to go and read a Simenon ASAP!

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    1. Sergio I was thinking of you while reading this book because of its Italian connection.:)

      I quite liked it. Now if only I could get more books of Simenon.

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